(If you don't want to read all of this,just read the "Your Feedback" section and let me know what you think about the tournaments that have finished and what you think can be improved)
After running a couple of very different tournaments, I'm starting to get a handle on what works well and what doesn't for tournaments. I'd like to share those thoughts for other people interested in running tournaments, and get feedback from players/viewers on what they think could improve.Tournament Format Infiltration Inc. (Riverside Tournament)
I’m sure what most of you remember about Infiltration Inc. was how long it took. It was a massive, 16 team, double elimination tournament where about 4 games were played a week, which made it take about a month in a half. On one hand, I love it being like that- it gave all teams a chance to play at least twice, and it meant that the teams that lasted longer got to face a good variety of strategies. The games being casted also made it a regular event for people not in the tournament. I really enjoyed seeing a bunch of people in Twitch chat each week watching the game.
There were definitely issues with it, though. Several teams seemed to give up after their first week, and scheduling games was a nightmare. People would often start trying to set a time the weekend they were supposed to play, then a couple of people would schedule a time, then the time would come and I’d realize that a player from each team hadn’t been reading the forum, had no idea what was going on, and never showed up. Having to make sure each game had 2 casters was just sour icing on the rotten cake. Making sure 4 games had working schedules week after week really took a lot out of me, and I’m sure the repeated scheduling and games wore many players out as well. Oceanside Tournament
The Oceanside tournament this weekend was completely different. Only 4 teams, single elimination, and all in a single day. This was a whole
lot less stressful for me. It had a set time, so I could be a lot less worried about dropouts, and it was all over fairly quickly. Once again, I think streaming the games was really fun, but it did cause a few issues. Casting all of the games meant that we couldn’t play both semifinals at the same time. Along with adding an hour to the tournament length, it also meant that the winner of the second game would have to go straight into the finals match without much of a break. From what it sounded like, that did affect Excellent Hats a bit.Match Format Infiltration Inc. (Riverside Tournament)
I’ll definitely admit that Infiltration Inc. had a pretty weird format that was probably too complicated, and I definitely wouldn’t suggest someone else use it. I’m pretty sure the casters saved the first round of matches in the tournament, though. I’m really, really glad they were able to explain what the score was- I think using that format would’ve blown up dramatically if it were a non-casted tournament.
If, for some reason, you are interested in using this format, I’d suggest only using it on quicker maps and putting more rounds in each set. I had a couple of players complain that a set being best out of 3 was a bit too open to chance. I got to make the finals and championship match best out of 5, which gives teams more time to adapt to each other, but that really makes the matches take a long time on Riverside.Oceanside Tournament
For this format, I decided to use what I understand to be Counter Strike’s format. It’s extremely simple to understand, and gives both teams plenty of time to adapt to each other’s strategy. The main problem with it is that both teams don’t get the same amount of time in each role. In fact, in the worst case a team might only play one game in a certain role. This is a bigger issue on maps where one side has the advantage (like Oceanside is to a small extent, apparently). While there actually isn’t an advantage mathematically to either team, going into the second half as Intruders while you’re losing 1-5 feels pretty terrible and makes you more likely to play worse, even though you’re just as likely to then go 5-1.Casting
Both of my tournaments have been casted, and I really like how they’ve turned out. Like I said before, it’s something that lets the whole community experience the tournament in some way, and it also lets players in the tournament see their games from a different angle. I think it also can make people better players- in both tournaments, I saw several tricks, such as rigs or places to snipe, that I never knew about before.
Casting can also make the games move a lot smoother (at least when the stream itself isn’t falling apart- I’ll get to that later). Having someone who can keep track of the score, knows the rules and can make impartial calls, and just handle general disruptions is very useful.
We can definitely improve the casting, though. Probably the biggest fix would be to actually run through the setup before the tournament starts, making sure that the sound, stream layout, and any fancy effects you might have are working fine (basically, do a test stream and have one or two other people watch it to make sure everything’s fine). I think the commentary from both tournaments (mine definitely included
) can be improved as well. I’m sure we’ll get better with practice, but I think we can work towards both being more engaging and talking about the strategy being displayed by both teams along with narrating what’s happening.
(That being said, nearly the only thing that I watch videos of is Hearthstone. Since that’s a completely different type of game, the slow discussion of strategy accompanied by a whole lot of bad jokes and irrelevant taking might not fit with Intruder. I should probably watch some CS matches to see what that style of casting is like)
I definitely think you need a third person running admin along with the two casters. They can watch the stream and chat to make sure everything is working fine, and if something goes wrong can hop into the TeamSpeak to alert the streamers.Future
So, if you’re interested in running a tournament, I hope all of this information helps you decide what you’re going to do. If you’re not thinking about running a tournament, I’d advise you to think about it. Although it’s a lot of work, it can be a whole lot of fun. The IntruderTournaments Youtube and Twitch accounts are free for anybody to use (for tournaments)- just send me a PM to get the password.
As for me, I think I’m going to experiment a bit more with formats to see what works better. What I’m going to do next is probably 8 teams playing at set times over the weekend, with no casters, to see how that works out.Your Feedback
So, now that I’ve posted my giant wall of thoughts on tournaments, I want to hear what your thoughts are. Whether you played in either tournament or just watched them, let me know what you think worked, didn’t work, or will work.
I especially want to hear what you think a good match format is. Preferably, it should give both teams similar amount of time in each role, it should give both teams enough time to adjust to each other in a role, and it should be simple (to understand and to actually do). I also want your feedback on the casting. What you like about it, what you think can be improved, and what you want from the cast.